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Old 21st March 2014, 12:17   #1
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Default Arsène Wenger's 1,000th Arsenal game: 10 highs and lows

Arsène Wenger's 1,000th Arsenal game: 10 highs and lows

From Tony Adams' title-crowning volley and Wenger's Invincibles to losing the Champions League final to Barcelona, the FA Cup to Michael Owen and even some of the Arsenal fans

Amy Lawrence
Friday 21 March 2014 10.00 GMT

The highs

Arsenal 4-0 Everton, Premier League 1998
Arsène Wenger broke the mould by disproving the now ludicrous theory that a foreign manager could not win the league in England. He did it in style, in his first full season. The image of Steve Bould arcing a Beckenbauer-esque pass for Tony Adams to volley in symbolised how Wenger was changing old English pre-perceptions.

Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle, FA Cup final 1998 Double the pleasure as Arsenal added the FA Cup to the Premier League in Wenger's first full season. The old trophy might have slipped a little in the manager's list of priorities over the years, but the tournament has served him well (wins in 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2005). Another one now would be warmly welcomed by the club.

Lazio 1-1 Arsenal, Champions League 2000 At the third time of asking, Arsenal finally made it out of the Champions League group stage. A fine finish from Robert Pires ensured the club made a big developmental step which meant a lot in terms of ambitions to make strides as a club with broader international clout.

Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal, Premier League 2002 In the thick of the Manchester United-Arsenal rivalry, Wenger's team had the pleasure of claiming the title with a 1-0 win at Old Trafford delivered by Sylvain Wiltord. Arsenal felt they had not just caught up the standards United had set in the past decade, but were arguably ahead at that point.

Tottenham 2-2 Arsenal, Premier League 2004 Another league title claimed this time at the home of their neighbours, with starring roles from their musketeers, Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Pires and Dennis Bergkamp.

Arsenal 2-1 Leicester, Premier League 2004 The day Arsenal crowned an Invincible season in the Highbury sunshine. With a peculiar twist they were losing at half-time of the last game to a Paul Dickov header, but recovered to mark an achievement Wenger described as "beyond belief".

Real Madrid 0-1 Arsenal, Champions League 2006 Had the look of a mission impossible as they travelled to the Bernabéu in awful form. An inspired team performance, and classic Henry breakaway goal, made Arsenal the first English team to win at Real. The result built the platform which supported a run to their only ever Champions League final.

Arsenal 4-2 Wigan, Premier League 2006 The last game at the old ancestral home of Highbury. Emotional, dramatic, and even significant as an Henry hat-trick enabled Arsenal to leapfrog Spurs, whose team were hit by a sickness epidemic, into the top four.

Arsenal 2-1 Barcelona, Champions League 2011 Arguably the most elated they have been since moving to the Emirates. Barcelona were at the peak of their powers under Pep Guardiola, and a courageous display gave Arsenal heart.

Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham, Premier League 2012 Bizarrely, this scoreline happened twice during 2012. The first one was particularly mindboggling. High-flying Tottenham expected to extend Arsenal's misery by making a big statement towards a top-four finish at their expense. Harry Redknapp's team led 2-0, only for the Gunners to raise their game in extraordinary style. The comeback revived Wenger's team, set Spurs on a downward spiral, and the usual suspects were back in the Champions League.

The lows

Arsenal 1-3 Blackburn, Premier League 1997 A second-half collapse looked to be profoundly costly. Arsenal wobbled precariously in the title race with a ragged performance that brought frustrations to the surface. Perversely, this watershed defeat turned out to be a good thing as a post-match pow wow between players and manager was unifying, motivating, and set Arsenal on course for the Double.

Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal, FA Cup semi-final replay 1999 A crushing blow for Arsenal, who were on course to return to the FA Cup final at the end of an epic semi-final. United were down to 10 men and Bergkamp stood over a penalty. Peter Schmeichel saved, and United returned from the brink courtesy of Ryan Giggs's wonder goal to march on to a treble.

Liverpool 2-1 Arsenal, FA Cup Final 2001 Thierry Henry still smarts about this, and has gone on the record to say he felt extra motivated against Liverpool always after the pain of the defeat. Arsenal were the better side, had plenty of chances, went 1-0 up, should have had a penalty when Stéphane Henchoz handballed … Then Michael Owen came on to snatch the Cup away with two late sucker-punches.

Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea, Champions League quarter-final 2004 Even though they reached the final two years later this was the year Arsenal felt they had the best chance to win the Champions League. In their unbeaten season they naturally felt very strong, and were generally better than Chelsea at that point. They were ousted by Wayne Bridge's strike at Highbury.

Manchester United 2-0 Arsenal, Premier League 2004 The end of the unbeaten run. Arsenal had stretched the record to 49 and went to Old Trafford in fine form. A typically ill-tempered affair, with Arsenal reeling over a penalty in which they felt Wayne Rooney dived over Sol Campbell, made for a fiery finale.

Barcelona 2-1 Arsenal, Champions League final 2006 A more improvised and less experienced side than in 2004 (the back four of Eboué-Senderos-Touré-Flamini for a number of vital European games tells you that) were thrilled to reach the final. An early red card for Lehmann was a serious blow, and despite Sol Campbell giving them the lead, Barcelona conquered late on. So near and yet so far.

Birmingham 2-2 Arsenal, Premier League 2008 A young Arsenal team were five points clear at the top of the table with 12 games to go. A catastrophic trip to St Andrews was the catalyst for all the promise to unravel. A terrible injury to their striker Eduardo (a fractured fibula and open dislocation of the ankle joint), and a late penalty equaliser conceded, devastated the team. A shaken Arsenal fell apart and the title chance disintegrated.

Birmingham 2-1 Arsenal, Carling Cup final 2011 The match that serves as warning to Arsenal as they look forward to an FA Cup semi-final against Wigan. Favourites on the day, they choked disastrously, gifted a winning goal to Obafemi Martins, and allowed the counting of trophyless seasons to go on.

Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal, Premier League 2011 A brutal defeat. Arsenal were shambolic, and allowed United to inflict such a beating even Ferguson felt ever so slightly bad for his old foe Wenger. It was Arsenal's worst defeat since 1896.

Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United, Premier League 2012
This was a shock more for what happened off the pitch than on it when Wenger substituted Arsenal's brightest spark, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, after he had made a goal. The replacement Andrey Arshavin, was culpable as United scored a late winner. The home support turned angrily on their manager.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King
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